Archive for December 2nd, 2018

Pistons winning, Blake Griffin leading

The Detroit Pistons are on a 5-game winning streak, and their 13-7 record this season is 4th best in the Eastern conference through Saturday’s games. The season is still young, but there is reason for optimism in Detroit. Here’s the Detroit News with more on the team and especially Blake Griffin, who has stepped up:

Detroit sports fans have seen this movie before: The Pistons get off to a hot start and look like a playoff team for the first part of the season, only to wither and miss the postseason. It’s been the narrative for the past few years — most recently last season, when they opened with a 14-6 record and became a national storyline, only to fizzle and miss the playoffs for the second straight year.

With a five-game win streak, including Saturday’s 111-102 victory over the Golden State Warriors, the Pistons have an opportunity to change the story. There’s plenty of room for growth, as seen by the array of blue and gold jerseys rooting for the two-time defending-champion Warriors at Little Caesars Arena…

The biggest reason to believe this time is the play of Blake Griffin, who’s putting up All-Star numbers: 24.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists, while hitting 36 percent on 3-pointers. After getting acclimated to the team in the second half of last season, Griffin has assumed the mantle of lead dog on the sled — and the Pistons are ready to follow his example.

Griffin is taking the reins at the ends of games, forcing other teams to double-team him, which opens lanes and shots for others. What’s making it work is that his teammates trust Griffin’s decision-making.

Full article

Warriors center Damian Jones, who exited last night’s game with 5.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter with a left shoulder injury, underwent an MRI late last night in Detroit.

It has been determined that Jones has suffered a torn left pectoral muscle. He is scheduled to see a specialist in the coming days.

Jones’ long-term status and an estimate return date will be updated once he has met with the specialist.

 

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The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Jalen Jones and forward Jaron Blossomgame to Two-Way contracts. And in a related move, Cleveland waived Two-Way players Andrew Harrison and Billy Preston.

Jones (6-7, 220) split last season between Dallas and New Orleans, appearing in 16 games and averaging 4.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per game. The Texas A&M product also played in 32 games (21 starts) with Texas and Greensboro in the NBA G League, averaging 19.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 31.4 minutes per game in 2017-18.

Blossomgame (6-7, 220) has played in 10 games (seven starts) in the NBA G League this season with the Austin Spurs and the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers’ exclusively owned and operated NBA G League team, averaging 20.9 points on .537 shooting, 7.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 32.6 minutes per game. With Canton, he has appeared in four games (one start) and averaged 16.8 points on .511 shooting, 7.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 26.9 minutes per game. The 6-7 forward out of Clemson was originally selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 29th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Per NBA rules, teams are permitted to have two Two-Way contract players on their roster at any given time, in addition to their 15-man regular season roster. A Two-Way player can spend up to 45 days with the Cavs.

 

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It’s easy to give a head coach a pass when multiple key players on his team are injured. But once they return to action? And then go ahead and play for a while? Then increased attention shifts not just on the team, but also on the head coach to make the most of the health-filled opportunity. Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times with some Bulls discussion:

There is nothing set in stone that this is absolutely Fred Hoiberg’s last year coaching the Bulls.

The Sun-Times confirmed that over the weekend.

What can’t be denied, however, is the growing whispers coming from atop that the next month will be crucial for Hoiberg even finishing out the rest of this season in that coaching seat.

The Saturday debut of Lauri Markkanen was a critical first step in that evaluation process, as the second-year player was sidelined throughout the first 23 regular-season games, recovering from a right elbow injury suffered the first week of training camp.

Once Hoiberg gets the remaining injured pieces back in Kris Dunn (left knee) and Bobby Portis (right knee), there needs to be results. Wins and losses will carry weight for Hoiberg in his fourth season, but not as much as this group showing some serious forward strides in development and quickly.

Full article

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